Conservation group may drop out of LRMP process 

Terms of reference concern Environmental-Conservation group

The Environmental-Conservation group is considering dropping out of the Sea to Sky Land and Resource Management Plan.

"Many members of the constituency are very concerned with some of the things in the terms of reference, to the point of not even participating," said Mitch Rhodes, president of the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment, after a constituents meeting this week.

Of concern to the group specifically is the condition that there will be no new protected areas created in the LRMP process, as well as the ambiguity of the province’s Working Forest Initiative.

The group makes up one of the 12 seats at the table, which is scheduled to start working on a plan to manage public land and natural resources in the Sea to Sky corridor this weekend.

The project manager of the Sea to Sky LRMP, Dave Tudhope, who was at the constituents meeting this week, was surprised the group would consider giving up their seat at the table.

"I knew there were some concerns... I didn’t know that it would cause them so much discomfort that they would question whether or not to participate," he said.

He is hoping that the problem can be resolved before or during the first LRMP public forum meeting on Saturday, Sept. 28 in Squamish.

Rhodes outlined the groups’ concerns.

In 1996 a Protected Areas Committee submitted recommendations to the provincial government for new protected areas in the Sea to Sky corridor.

The government accepted that package while making it clear that there would be no new protected areas created as part of the LRMP process.

"The government made that quite clear from the get-go," said Tudhope.

Rhodes admits that constituents were aware of this but still ruling out new protected areas altogether may not be conducive to achieving agreement for a land and resource management plan.

"Maybe to come to consensus that should not be taken off the table," he said.

The second area of concern deals with the Working Forest Initiative.

Previously crown land outside of parks, private areas and protected areas fell under the Forest Land Reserve.

That designation has not been used for a few years now said Tudhope.

Instead the province is fleshing out the Working Forest Initiative.

Rhodes said there was concern at the constituents meeting that the reach of the Working Forest Initiative was not quite clear.

If it becomes legislation then it would effectively wipe out the consultative process, rendering it a waste of time, he said.

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